January 2011 | Commentary | Checking In

Gaining Even More Ground

Tags: Supply Chain Management

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Building the January Logistics Planner is always a process of incremental addition. That’s the only way you can even approach, let alone execute, a 528-page issue during the busy holiday season.

Along the way, there are measured benchmarks: meetings, deadlines, rough drafts, edits, designed proofs, polished articles, then a print date. The final product, which you are now holding and reading (or just downloaded), is the sum total of all these individual gains.

As a logistics trade publication, we practice what we preach. This year’s editorial theme follows a similar progression, focusing on how businesses are working toward small achievements and achieving big gains within their respective supply chains.

As always, the foundation of this issue is the Logistics Planner Profiles, an in-depth directory of leading transportation and logistics companies. These leaders know a thing or two about helping companies achieve gain by doing more with less. As you press forward in 2011, look to these companies as “gain” changers.

Our cover story, Supply Chain Gain: Benchmarking Success, presents examples of how logistics professionals are working together with carriers and logistics service providers to pinpoint problems and find solutions. We identify seven different logistics silos, then provide topical overviews and case study evidence that demonstrates how supply chain partners are gain sharing.

Perry Trunick’s article, Sorting Through Materials Handling Decisions, explores how businesses are approaching distribution center improvements, inside and out. Effective network optimization can save up to 15 percent of facility and transportation costs. Inside the four walls, inventory optimization can account for another five to 15 percent in savings.

In other cases, gains are truly shared. Truck manufacturer Navistar conceived and implemented a supply chain plan that drove tremendous gains. In 2010 alone, the company identified and implemented 19 separate cost-saving projects, each attacking a specific area of the supply chain with a set of metrics that defines success. Ed Melching, director of global logistics for Navistar, shares his company’s successes in The Wheels of Change.

Finding business gains is especially important when times are tough. At Inbound Logistics, we’re faced with the same economic challenges as you. Our staff— Michael Murphy, Shawn Kelloway, Mary Brennan, Catherine Harden, Joseph O’Reilly, and Sonia Casiano— did a lot more with less to produce this issue, one of the most successful in our history in terms of supporters. The in-depth editorial, new media, online content, and decision-support tools that go along with the issue make it by far the largest project we’ve tackled in our 30-year history.

We stocked this issue with more solutions, more choices, and more information to provide the tools you need to gain even more ground as you face your logistics challenges in the year ahead.